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Luggage Transfer Correos

Walking Poles or not?

PatrickM

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Pamplona to SDC (05/2018)
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
I say use a set of trekking poles. They definitely do assist one in walking more efficiently and do take stress and pounding off the knees. Also they give your upper body a little bit of a workout.
Go on youtube and watch a couple of videos on using them.
My advice is buy a set in Saint Jean. Probably less than 25 euros.
If while on the Camino you decide you do not want to use them for any reason? Just leave on a donativo table. Somebody can always use them.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
Patrick, first welcome to the forum.

I am very pro trekking poles.I use mine 100% of the time when walking various Camino's. They are most useful when ascending or decending hills and negotiating wet muddy areas. But I find them also useful on dead flat areas as I can maintain a much better pace with them, then without them. Since your arms are assisting your legs I find I have much less fatigue at the end of a day.
You will find that you will not be 'carrying your poles' as they will be in your hands 100% of the time. When I see people carrying their trekking poles I find it very puzzling because they are helpful in all conditions.
I bought carbon fibre poles. They are extremely lite and very strong. I have rubber tips on mine to keep the clicking noise down on hard surfaces, but remove them if I have a long stretch on natural trails as the carbide tips are better off road.
There are You Tube videos on technique so that you can gain the maximum benefit from them.
I use to cross country ski, so I find poles very natural to use.
You will find after 800 kilometers your arms after and chest muscles will be much more toned after using them as well.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
You will find that you will not be 'carrying your poles' as they will be in your hands 100% of the time. When I see people carrying their trekking poles I find it very puzzling because they are helpful in all conditions.
I use my poles all the time, except in crowded cities and towns. I had never used poles before, so I chose Pacer Poles. Their ergonomic grip makes them practically "idiot proof", as there really is no learning curve to use them, after you have adjusted them to your height.
 

MikeyC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
CF - 2019
Definitely yes to hiking poles. Your knees and feet will appreciate the difference as you transfer effort to arms. Good for balance up hill and down. No more "sausage" fingers as you increase blood flow through your hands. Useful to ward off threatening dogs or livestock. I have even used a pole to hang laundry by adjusting it to fill a gap between walls. You can suspend a backpack from a bunk frame inserting vertically through the grab loop.
 

Phil71

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2014,2016),Primitivo (2015), San Salvador (2017), Norte (2018), Ingles (2018)
Ok. I'll say it. I hate walking poles. Yes they make the walk easier for the user, but the constant click click click click click drives me mad!!!!! Sorry. I know I'm the minority here, don't hate me.....
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Ok. I'll say it. I hate walking poles. Yes they make the walk easier for the user, but the constant click click click click click drives me mad!!!!! Sorry. I know I'm the minority here, don't hate me.....
I had rubber tips on my poles at all times. No click clacking from me!
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
If you are practiced using poles prior to Camino, then take them; you will be glad you did. Otherwise, they are just dead weight which will be more cumbersome than helpful. YouTube has some wonderful tutorials which can be of help when starting out.

On Camino last September, I saw loads of pilgrims who seemed to have heard that having trekking poles were the "thing to do", and yet had no clue to their proper use. You could see from the way the were used that many had no knowledge on their deployment. I even saw pilgrims literally dragging their dangling poles behind them, straps looped around their hands, with the poles moving loosely forward and back trailing along the path as they took each step. Not just to grab a water bottle or a snack, but for 15 to 30 minutes before finally passing them by.

I even held an impromptu "clinic" during a rest break on the way from Larrasoana to Pamplona, where a group of pilgrims who were traveling together also decided to stop. A couple of them started discussing how awkward their poles were and why they ever thought they needed them. A quick ten minute session where I helped them adjust poles to proper height and worked a bit on effective pole synchronization with foot placement while walking, and it was like lightbulbs were going off above their heads.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
Ok. I'll say it. I hate walking poles. Yes they make the walk easier for the user, but the constant click click click click click drives me mad!!!!! Sorry. I know I'm the minority here, don't hate me.....
No, you're not in the minority... even a lot of us trekking pole users hate the sound of the clickety-clacking made by poles that do not have rubber tips on them when on hard surfaces. I keep a pair of tips in a hipbelt pocket. When approaching a hard surface, even a rocky trail surface, the tips come out and get put on the poles. Then removed when on dirt. Its quick and easy to do.

Why people are so oblivious to their pole's racket is beyond me; it is probably just the same general obliviotness attributable to a majority of those displaying obnoxious behaviors in public. :)
 

FeatherG

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Route (last 100+kms) (2011)
Finisterre Route (2012)
French Way (first 100+ kms) (2014)
Northern Coastal Route (first 100+kms) (2015)
French Way (last 100+kms) (2017)
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Wouldn't go without them Patrick. Apart from their invaluable support - especially on the downhills, rocky slopes, muddy stretches & early morning frosty paths, I found their timely rhythm great solace & good company when I walked solo. Because I can't fly out of Santiago with them, I have been through many poles, but always leave them @ reception @ my last Albergue to pass on to whoever may need them. I say Yes!
Buen Camino Patrick
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); Fall (2020) I hope
Patrick, first welcome to the forum.

I am very pro trekking poles.I use mine 100% of the time when walking various Camino's. They are most useful when ascending or decending hills and negotiating wet muddy areas. But I find them also useful on dead flat areas as I can maintain a much better pace with them, then without them. Since your arms are assisting your legs I find I have much less fatigue at the end of a day.
You will find that you will not be 'carrying your poles' as they will be in your hands 100% of the time. When I see people carrying their trekking poles I find it very puzzling because they are helpful in all conditions.
I bought carbon fibre poles. They are extremely lite and very strong. I have rubber tips on mine to keep the clicking noise down on hard surfaces, but remove them if I have a long stretch on natural trails as the carbide tips are better off road.
There are You Tube videos on technique so that you can gain the maximum benefit from them.
I use to cross country ski, so I find poles very natural to use.
You will find after 800 kilometers your arms after and chest muscles will be much more toned after using them as well.
I agree with everything here. Carbon poles are great, since they have some natural shock absorbing qualities, plus they’re lighter. And yes to the rubber tips. Get the good ones though that are meant to be used for walking rather than the thin rubber tips that come with the poles and only serve as covers for the tips when not being used.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
If you are practiced using poles prior to Camino, then take them; you will be glad you did. Otherwise, they are just dead weight which will be more cumbersome than helpful
That's exactly why I chose Pacer Poles. I had never done any backpacking before, let alone using poles. They were very useful for me and never dead weight.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
I carried poles the [insert your opinion] Km from a small town in France to a lighthouse in Galicia and used them twice. Once on a loose dog somewhere in Navarre and once to balance my camera on the rocks at Finis Terre. I even cut a pole from a hedgerow to navigate a nicely muddy bit 'cos it was quicker than shedding my pack in the mud to unpack the poles. Most of the time I used my umbrella for balance if the need arose sufficiently.

The Beloved loves my poles and has used them on all her Caminos.

A quick search of the forum might have led you to the conclusion that poles are not necessarily necessary on the Camino Frances but they are compulsory ;0) that is the nature of this forum rather than the essence of the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances and Finisterre 2014
Camino Frances,Muxia and Finisterre 2015
Camino del Norte,Arzua to Ribadeo 2015
I carried poles the [insert your opinion] Km from a small town in France to a lighthouse in Galicia and used them twice. Once on a loose dog somewhere in Navarre and once to balance my camera on the rocks at Finis Terre. I even cut a pole from a hedgerow to navigate a nicely muddy bit 'cos it was quicker than shedding my pack in the mud to unpack the poles. Most of the time I used my umbrella for balance if the need arose sufficiently.

The Beloved loves my poles and has used them on all her Caminos.

A quick search of the forum might have led you to the conclusion that poles are not necessarily necessary on the Camino Frances but they are compulsory ;0) that is the nature of this forum rather than the essence of the Camino.
I'm with you on this.
Some years ago I suffered a serious knee injury and I only carry poles just in case it ever gives out on me.I have never used them on 1000's of miles of hill walking and caminos although I have lent them out to fellow peregrinos in need.
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
That's exactly why I chose Pacer Poles. I had never done any backpacking before, let alone using poles. They were very useful for me and never dead weight.
I wonder if there is something about the grip of Pacer Poles that makes it easier for someone new to using trekking poles to "get it". When I've tried Pacer Poles, they seemed to me to work the same as "regular" grip poles, in terms of pole placement and syncing to leg movement while walking. I know that grip is ergonomically different, but the mechanics of use seemed the same to me.

Since I tried Pacer Poles after I'd been using trekking poles for quite a while, it was hard for me to take on a "newbies" perspective to pole use. :)
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
I wonder if there is something about the grip of Pacer Poles that makes it easier for someone new to using trekking poles to "get it". When I've tried Pacer Poles, they seemed to me to work the same as "regular" grip poles, in terms of pole placement and syncing to leg movement while walking. I know that grip is ergonomically different, but the mechanics of use seemed the same to me.

Since I tried Pacer Poles after I'd been using trekking poles for quite a while, it was hard for me to take on a "newbies" perspective to pole use. :)
I guess that it's possible that I'm not using them "right", but how I use them works for me! :D
 

Latecomer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VDLP (Sept 2015)

CF SJPDP-SdC+
(Sept/Oct 2018)
To take or not to take?
1) If flying, buy them in SJPDP.
2) Watch some youtube videos or visit a credible outfitter in advance for tips on correct use - it matters!
3) Buy rubber tips.
4) They help on uphill, downhill, and flat.
5) Your mileage may vary.
¡Buen Camino!
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
I guess that it's possible that I'm not using them "right", but how I use them works for me! :D
:oops: Oops... didn't mean to imply that you were using them wrong. I was just contemplating why some find the Pacer Poles easier to figure out than the 'regular' grip poles.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
:oops: Oops... didn't mean to imply that you were using them wrong. I was just contemplating why some find the Pacer Poles easier to figure out than the 'regular' grip poles.
No worries, it's definitely possible that I don't have the correct form, but they have served me well over 1000 miles.
 

amocatnerak

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April 2018
I am a hiking pole enthusiast! I used mine everyday and they saved me on multiple occasions. They assisted me with powering through steep ascents as well as helping maintain balance on descents. I brought my cheap ones from WalMart and they held up well.
 

Scarlet Fez

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances Sept/Oct 2016
Camino Portuguese Oct 2017
Del Norde Start 2nd May 2018
Horses for courses. As stated by many great for ascending and descending or rocky terrain. As a general rule don't use them on the flat but help keep a decent pace and rytham when you want to make a bit of ground.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
If one has the basic coordination of being able to walk and naturally swing their arms in rhythm with the walking, they can effectively use trekking poles. You also have to have the desire to use them properly. I think some pilgrims buy them because they were told they were needed, and just have them...because, and just kind of half drag them along for 800 kms. Maybe they think it helps them look like a pilgrim.
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
More to come
Patrick, I'd suggest you get a pair and go for a series of walks with them before you depart.
The Camino is a long journey and I firmly believe any piece of equipment should be tested beforehand to avoid issues/regrets/extra weight.

On the specific matter of poles, I hate them and did CF and CP without them. I just can't balance myself and feel like an octopus with too many limbs.
My husband, who walks with me, loves poles, for the reasons mentioned above.

So the best thing is really to try - then you will know if you want them or not :)
 

PatrickM

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Pamplona to SDC (05/2018)
Thank you all! What an energetic discussion! I have been using poles for some time for my usual daily walks as part of my fitness routine, and yes! I have learned the proper technique :)) I am somewhat ambivalent about the need to work on my fitness at the same time as I am having an adventure of a lifetime! I do appreciate all of the points made on both sides of the issue! Thank you all! Now, I think we can all 'move on'!
Buen Camino!
 

musicman

Ensuitepilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Essential kit - use both, walking alternate foot to pole - have them at a length that is level with the top of your hips - not just for ups and downs; all your walking.
Improves posture, destresses knees and hips - particularly needful for successive days’ walking.
 

Colette Z

Happy Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Finisterra-Muxia 2017; SK Camino Kosiče-Levoča 2017; Norte Mar’18; Ingles Nov’18; VDLP Mar’19
Ok. I'll say it. I hate walking poles. Yes they make the walk easier for the user, but the constant click click click click click drives me mad!!!!! Sorry. I know I'm the minority here, don't hate me.....
I use rubber tip add ons - one on the poles and a second spare set. I wore first set out on my recent Camino after 700k. No clicking at all.
 

DebR

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances:
2013; 2014; 2015; 2017; 2018 (October)
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Yes.
Always yes.
Buy them in SJPP if you like, but have them.
They will help more than you can imagine.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
Add my voice to the pro votes. I find that walking with poles adds at least 50% to the distance that I can cover comfortably. I'm also a fan of using the rubber tips as opposed to metal. You end up going through one or two sets during that long of a walk, but it's worth it just for the reduction in noise. I, like others, find that it helps steady my walk during ups and downs and provides a back respite when just standing. I opted for a little more expensive poles made out of carbon fiber. They are very light, and disassemble easily so that you can pack them into the checked luggage (can't carry them on, of course). Buon Camino.
 

Walkingforheinz

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
I am a convert to using poles. I bought walking poles about 20 years ago and only used them about 6 times. Now that I am preparing for the Camino, I have watched the videos on proper technique and am using them every time I walk - they significantly reduce strain on my knees on descents and have eliminated swelling in my hands on long flat stretches. At least once, the stability they offer prevented me from tumbling down a steep slope when my foot slipped on some wet ground. I use rubber tips on hard surfaces but they undermine the usefulness of the poles on gravel or softer surfaces. I like the explanation given by one of the videos "poles turn you into a mountain goat with four legs".
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Patrick, WELCOME!!!

I will be starting about two weeks ahead of you, only 8 days before I begin travelling.

Poles Yes? Poles No? There is only one person who can answer the question of, "Use walking poles or not?" And that is the user.

Poles can be purchased on Rue Citadelle in SJPP just down the street from the Pilgrims' Office, and a couple other places in SJPP before starting. But there is an option, though I do not personally recommend it. Start without poles. See how it goes. If poles become a necessity, there may be some left behind at the next albergue or by the time Pamplona is reached, they can be purchased there. That is only 3 or 4 days in, but also some of the roughest terrain, where poles come in handiest.

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria to Santiago 2014
Pamplona to Santiago 2017
Norte. 2018
I love them especially for balance . They have kept me from falling many times. I will say it took me a long time to walk correctly with them as I felt my arms and legs were fighting each other. I just kept walking and stopped thinking about it and one day I noticed all was working correctly. Please, please use rubber tips and everyone will love you.
 

Paul Roby

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 France
2019 Portuguese
Patrick, WELCOME!!!

I will be starting about two weeks ahead of you, only 8 days before I begin travelling.

Poles Yes? Poles No? There is only one person who can answer the question of, "Use walking poles or not?" And that is the user.

Poles can be purchased on Rue Citadelle in SJPP just down the street from the Pilgrims' Office, and a couple other places in SJPP before starting. But there is an option, though I do not personally recommend it. Start without poles. See how it goes. If poles become a necessity, there may be some left behind at the next albergue or by the time Pamplona is reached, they can be purchased there. That is only 3 or 4 days in, but also some of the roughest terrain, where poles come in handiest.

Hope this helps.
I bought mine at SJPP like said above I paid 20€ in 2016 for the pair and i still have them. They are great do not leave without them. Lots of comments that support this
Buen camino
 
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Noll

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking May 2018
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
I'm a newbie too - so can't give advice except that I'm taking Poles because most walkers i know or have talked to think that it's a good option and standby
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
I'm a newbie too - so can't give advice except that I'm taking Poles because most walkers i know or have talked to think that it's a good option and standby
Be sure to learn how to effectively walk with the poles prior to Camino. For some folks, it takes a bit of time to catch on.

YouTube has a gaggle of videos on trekking poles to help coach you in their use and maintenance.

Adjusting the length of the pole to your needs is also something that takes some trial and error to figure out; the 'guidelines' on adjusting the length are not ironclad. The final length you choose will likely be either more or less than what the 'guidelines' specify, but the guidelines are a place to start. Walk up and down hills, as well as on the flats, to verify that the poles are working well for you.

Once you have the best length sorted out, then scratch a mark on the pole on each section that adjusts. This allows you to quickly restore the exact length that you need should you decide to collapse your poles for storage or carry in your pack; it is a simple matter to move each section to the scratch mark, and then lock that adjustment back in again.
 

SoyGalego

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primo/Fisterra 17
Ingles/Muxia/Fisterra 18.
I've done a couple of Caminos now and I'll always take my hiking poles with me on any future ones. I'm a big fan of them. It's all been covered their advantages and I had read before using them that they save you 10% of energy. On my first Camino they were a God send and saved me a couple of times from falling over. The ones I use are Black Diamond and they're collapsible. I also use rubber tips on them and the Black Diamond tips seem to last for a good couple of weeks even using them on concrete surfaces continuously. I don't even bother to take them off the concrete/asphalt surfaces as they work just as good with them on. As I walk alone I find that the noise they make is kind of hypnotic at times and you get to "switch off" with the noise. As it's been said it also works the top half of your body out as well, not to mention they can fend off any unwanted attention from animals.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
Definitely yes to hiking poles. Your knees and feet will appreciate the difference as you transfer effort to arms. Good for balance up hill and down. No more "sausage" fingers as you increase blood flow through your hands. Useful to ward off threatening dogs or livestock. I have even used a pole to hang laundry by adjusting it to fill a gap between walls. You can suspend a backpack from a bunk frame inserting vertically through the grab loop.
Good for walking, but as you stated, make an excellent rack for hanging up your laundry to dry.FB_IMG_1524926222724.jpg
 

colossalsquids

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
looking into summer 2017
I was anti poles when I started, and went from Irun to Oviedo without them on the Norte. With the elevation changes and climbing, that was a mistake and they surely would have helped me avoid blisters and other issues. I picked up a pair in Oviedo at Decathlon for 5€ each and they made the Primitivo so much easier for me. Like everyone says, you can buy an inexpensive pair and ditch them if you need to. I wish I hadn't been so stubborn, they made a huge difference for me!
 

Colly

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
"2018"
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Hi Patrick, I am walking the Camino Frances at the moment, having reached Los Arcos this evening, I have to say that my walking poles have been the most valuable thing I have brought so far! For uphill and downhill they have been my second pair of kegs for strength and stability..Don’t go without a pair but also use YouTube and learn to use them efficiently to help you! Buen Camino
 

JP

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014 - Camino Portuguese 2016 (Coimbra to Albergaria-A-Velha) - Camino Frances 2017.
Saved me quite a few times from a fall going up and down hills. Did not use them going over the bridge going into Santiago last May and I fell flat on my face, only fall of my Camino (cut the side of head and bent my eye glasses). I guess I was to excited to have reached Santiago and was not paying attention to the uneven wood flats on the bridge.
 

Camino Chris

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
"Buen Camino" - it's Polish . . . after the Pole/pole pun?
Yes, it was a pun, I couldn't resist! I figured you had replied in Polish, but just wasn't sure what you were saying. Thanks for clarifying!
 

Dinah Shaw

Volcano Climber
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Absolutely take poles. There is no way I could have done the Camino without the poles. I hike a lot and climb mountains and always use poles
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Walking poles relieve a lot of pressure off the legs, especially going downhill. On 30 km days, you will be less tired at the end.
 

MeandIan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
After the knee replacement I knew I needed walking sticks so I tried them. I think I’m using them the correct way but I’m finding it very hard on my hands and forearms, and this is quite tiring. We went for a walk last week and I deliberately left them in the car. When we encountered a very steep descent I had to shuffle to avoid slipping on the loose stones and also minimising stress on my knee. D4EF45D4-F009-4E65-82D1-16A2AD15975F.pngIan found me some sticks on the side and they were extremely beneficial. After the descent I put it on the side for someone and then 1km later we reached a very steep climb. I felt really dumb. I’m certainly going to try them again. I’ve watched YouTube but I’m not comfortable. I’d appreciate any advice on something that I’m obviously doing wrong. Thank you
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
After the knee replacement I knew I needed walking sticks so I tried them. I think I’m using them the correct way but I’m finding it very hard on my hands and forearms, and this is quite tiring. We went for a walk last week and I deliberately left them in the car. When we encountered a very steep descent I had to shuffle to avoid slipping on the loose stones and also minimising stress on my knee. View attachment 42010Ian found me some sticks on the side and they were extremely beneficial. After the descent I put it on the side for someone and then 1km later we reached a very steep climb. I felt really dumb. I’m certainly going to try them again. I’ve watched YouTube but I’m not comfortable. I’d appreciate any advice on something that I’m obviously doing wrong. Thank you
It is very difficult to diagnose trekking pole technique without actually seeing a video; maybe you could post one. Just guessing, it may be that your trekking poles are not adjusted to a proper length.
 
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REV

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2015 from Roncesvalles) Camino Portuguese (2015 from Tuí) Camino Inglés (2015 from Ferrol)
"trecile: I use my poles all the time, except in crowded cities and towns. I had never used poles before, so I chose Pacer Poles. Their ergonomic grip makes them practically "idiot proof", as there really is no learning curve to use them, after you have adjusted them to your height.


I agree with Trecile:

Here is an earlier posting of mine about Pacer Poles.

After reading this forum extensively in 2014 before my three 2015 Caminos, I investigated PacerPoles The PP videos and instructions were useful, and the PP unique handle design makes it easy to learn how to use them and difficult to use them improperly. (Chris Bonnington's comments impressed me too.)

Perhaps some of the anti-pole commenters might alter their views if they actually tried PacerPoles.

Here is part of an earlier post of mine about Pacer Poles:

<<
http://www.pacerpole.com

They can be obtained online from Britain. There are also YouTube videos showing how to use them. Their handles are quite different from other poles, and they are very comfortable to use.

I used PacerPoles last year for nearly 1000 miles on the Camino Frances, Camino Portuguese and Camino Ingles. Before that, I used them on a difficult hike in the highlands of Bali. I am 70+ . These poles have been a major contribution to both my safety and my comfort.

Here is a review I just found online:

http://sectionhiker.com/pacer-poles-why-arent-all-trekking-poles-this-good/

It begins:

"British-made Pacerpoles are far superior to the trekking poles you can buy in the United States. I’ve been testing a pair for nearly 2 months and I am a convert. They help me carry a backpack with better posture, prevent muscle soreness in my legs, and are much more resistant to bending and snapping than my current trekking poles.

The main difference between conventional poles and Pacerpoles is in the hand grip. It’s kind of hard to explain so I’ve shot this video to show you. Instead of a vertical pole grip, the Pacerpoles have a horizontal pistol style grip, where your thumb is positioned at a 45 degree angle to the ground and the ball of your hand is on the top of the pole. These two changes give you a much better mechanical advantage to use the poles for propulsion and lift, rather than just lateral stabilization like conventional hiking and trekking poles."

I suggest reading the entire review, which also includes:

"If you decide to take the plunge, Pacerpoles has an unlimited 30 day return policy which may or may not give you enough time to decide whether you like the differences or not. Either way, you really need to commit to these poles to get any benefit out of them." AND

"Conclusion
I am very impressed with the aluminum pair of Pacer Poles that I tested in this review and I’m glad I finally tried them. Honestly, I will probably buy a pair of my own rather than continue using Black Diamond trekking poles for three season hiking. The Pacerpole hand grip makes such a difference in my posture, walking speed, and stability that I can’t imagine settling for anything less. If you climb a lot of mountains, you should give Pacerpoles a try. I would recommend sticking with the aluminum ones, only because they will be more resistant to breaking and they are likely to still be usable if you bend them. I’ve snapped way more carbon fiber poles than I ever want to and don’t trust them in very rocky terrain."

My own discovery of PacerPoles was through this Forum, which I explained in an earlier post:

"I do not think I would have completed the Caminos without them, because I had several long stretches with a problem with my left leg. Others in my family have also used them with similarly positive experiences. I tried them after reading a lengthy thread asking something like "Does anyone NOT like PacerPoles?" They are made in the UK, and there is a 30 day trial period. Learning to use them is relatively easy. The instructions and the videos are reasonably straight-forward. With their special, angled grips for the left and right hands it is difficult to use them improperly."
>>
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
After the knee replacement I knew I needed walking sticks so I tried them. I think I’m using them the correct way but I’m finding it very hard on my hands and forearms, and this is quite tiring. We went for a walk last week and I deliberately left them in the car. When we encountered a very steep descent I had to shuffle to avoid slipping on the loose stones and also minimising stress on my knee. View attachment 42010Ian found me some sticks on the side and they were extremely beneficial. After the descent I put it on the side for someone and then 1km later we reached a very steep climb. I felt really dumb. I’m certainly going to try them again. I’ve watched YouTube but I’m not comfortable. I’d appreciate any advice on something that I’m obviously doing wrong. Thank you
I am not 100% sure, but it looks like you are out of rhythm with the arm swing to leg motion. when you walk normally, if your left leg goes forward your left arm goes back, and same for the right side and so on. The trekking poles, at least in my experience, simply go with that rhythm. Just get some poles of any kind and practice wherever. It doesn't have to be on an actual trail.
Your hand placement on the strap is also just as important. You do not really grip the poles most of the time. Your hand rests on the strap.
Also, and I have said this before, any type of stick at the right length would work. You could literally cut two wooden broomsticks to proper length, put rubber tips on the bottoms, say the kind for furniture legs, put bicycle hand-grips on the top, attach straps or cord, and voila you are off like a champ. Not as sexy and cool looking as the 100 euro sets made of aluminium or carbon fibre, but I guarantee they will get you from Saint Jean all the way to the coastal lighthouse on the Atlantic, and have the added bonus of nobody wanting to pinch them, lol.
 

Bornean

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Chemin Le Puy/Camino del Norte/Camino Primitivo (2018)
Love my poles. Never used to use them as I always preferred to have my hands free and didn't want to have to deal with carrying more stuff. I started using them about 3 years ago while hiking with an injury (that arguably may not have occurred if I'd had poles in the first place, but certainly wouldn't have been as bad if I'd had poles from day1).

I am now a total covert to trekking poles. My technique is not great, but it is very comfortable and works for me. There are so many benefits that my poles are now an essential part of my gear - except when I'm jungle trekking, where they can be pretty useless.

My left knee, ankle, shin, achilles - the whole limb from knee down, really - is a bit messy and can cause problems bad enough to take me off a trail. My poles help me to continue to do the thing that gives me the most joy. Poles may not always be necessary for me, but walking and hiking are, and if I can't do that - well, I know how miserable I get when unable to get out there because I'm injured.

The benefits I've found:
- better stability, which has been a total blessing - my ankle has responded wonderfully to this. It has been weak ever since I took a tumble coming down a mountain 15 years ago and I've had to deal with multiple sprains, strains, and a couple of fractures over the years. Since I started using poles, I haven't had a serious ankle issue (touch wood!). Descents have always been my downfall, ha, and my poles are a necessity on steep descents
- Even with my lousy technique, I am very aware of how the weight of my pack is being transferred. My knee is grateful for the more equitable distribution of weight. - Bonus, my right leg has been positively exuberant as it is no longer constantly required to compensate for its troublesome sibling.
- Poles are great for circulation! Never had a problem with this before, but once I hit 40, I started to notice that my fingers would start to swell. Adjusting straps on pack didn't help much. But poles were the solution. Bonus vanity point: they do a marvelous job toning the arms :)
- Poles are fantastic for picking up rubbish along trails. It's tiring constantly bending down with a pack to pick up trash, and probably not good for the back. Now I just use the poles to pick trash up.
- They hold my tent up

The biggest benefit of trekking poles, for me, has really been that over the last 3 years, I've not had to deal with any injury that has put me out of commission for long. I used to spend far too much time recovering from one injury after another, and would just get utterly demoralized continuously going through recovery periods and rebuilding strength only to get injured again. Since I've had my poles, I've not had to go through the mental gymnastics required to cope with the crushing disappointment of not being able to hike. And that has been a blessing not just for me, but for anyone who is close to me. Like most people, I'm so much happier and simply a better person when I get to do the thing that gives me the most joy. I'm scheming to do hikes that I wouldn't even have contemplated a handful of years ago.

The ultimate bonus benefit from becoming a trekking pole convert is that I'm always excitedly looking forward now. I had thought that the height of my hiking days were in my 20s and that the best bits were behind me. Utter nonsense!! It has become apparent, and since I started using poles, that my hiking days are really only just beginning - I'm doing longer and more challenging hikes than I ever did before. I can't stop grinning like an idiot at this thought :)

And with that, as it's my 44th birthday today, I'm going to go for a walk because I can't think of a better way to celebrate.
 

Den from Down Under

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago
Ok. I'll say it. I hate walking poles. Yes they make the walk easier for the user, but the constant click click click click click drives me mad!!!!! Sorry. I know I'm the minority here, don't hate me.....
I totally agree, the clack, clack, clack turned me off using them. However I will be starting the walk from Figeac to StJdP at end of May and due to a foot concern, have decided to wholeheartedly embrace the poles. First time ever... after walking many many walks/kms in various parts of the world (pole-less). Unfortunately there are walkers who do not think to put the rubber tips back on when walking on hard surfaces, or simply can not be bothered to pack them.. C'est la vie!
 

kelleymac

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
No, you're not in the minority... even a lot of us trekking pole users hate the sound of the clickety-clacking made by poles that do not have rubber tips on them when on hard surfaces. I keep a pair of tips in a hipbelt pocket. When approaching a hard surface, even a rocky trail surface, the tips come out and get put on the poles. Then removed when on dirt. Its quick and easy to do.

Why people are so oblivious to their pole's racket is beyond me; it is probably just the same general obliviotness attributable to a majority of those displaying obnoxious behaviors in public. :)
I had regular arguments with my son who would clack his way through towns. He loved making the clacking noise. I hated it! I kept telling him to just pick up his walking stick until we got back on the dirt. I also lived for years in tourist cities (Washington DC, Annapolis MD, and Santa Fe NM), and know how much tourists walking though your neighborhood can get on your nerves. The clacking would have had me snatching peoples walking poles away from them. No clacking!
 

kelleymac

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
I thought I'd walk without a pole, but bought a wooden one after the second day. After walking for hours my legs felt wobbly and I was afraid I'd turn my ankle. I used just one and changed it from one hand to the other every once in a while.

buen camino--

kate
 

Ann clipsham

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, portuguesa, st olav, via de la plata
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Yes, yes, Yes! As you appear to be of "older" years and may have some twinges already, they are definitely of benefit - take 10kgs of pressure off each knee.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/?/Invierno ('19)
Yes they make the walk easier for the user, but the constant click click click click click drives me mad!!!!! Sorry. I know I'm the minority here, don't hate me.....
Not to worry, Phil, you're no doubt not the only one.
I LOVE my poles but really don't like the clacking, either.
So I would definitely say yes, take them (for all those reasons people have mentioned) - but for the sanity of others and to keep your friends, do remember to put the little rubber feet on them. (Belated apologies because on the Ingles this year mine had worn through, and I had to walk without the silencers...:oops::oops::oops:)
 

SoyGalego

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primo/Fisterra 17
Ingles/Muxia/Fisterra 18.
Phil, take them you'll not regret it. I didn't use them on the start of the Ingles but after a while on the first stage I got them out. They give me a rhythm and help me to focus on that rhythm apart from working out the body's top half. They're also useful to fend off any unwanted animals, plus "feel" your way if walking though a water log field. Handy as well when I drop something and I can't be bothered to bend over to pick it up!! The weight is minimal but the pluses are great. Enjoy regardless.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
How did you go? Did you take some?
I don't take one step without them.
So they are never carried ;)
 

davebugg

"When I Have Your Wounded" - Dustoff Motto
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances...
Sept. 2017: SJPdP to Burgos
Sept./Oct. 2018: SJPdP to Santiago de Compostela
Yes, yes, Yes! As you appear to be of "older" years and may have some twinges already, they are definitely of benefit - take 10kgs of pressure off each knee.
:) Only if one uses them correctly. On Camino, it seemed like trekking poles were viewed by many as a required pilgrim accouterment, sort of in the same vein as the wearing of a scallop's shell on the backpack. They didn't really know how to use them, but the way they WERE using them was, frequently, more conducive to creating a risk to them, or others passing by, of tripping. :)

I did spend some time in various locations and circumstances instructing fellow pilgrims in the proper deployment, function, and use of their trekking poles. :)
 

Walking Lover

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CdS from Leon to Santiago, June 16, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
Yes, yes, Yes! As you appear to be of "older" years and may have some twinges already, they are definitely of benefit - take 10kgs of pressure off each knee.
3 caminos, age 68, 69, 70; in excellent health; can't imagine doing a Camino without poles.
 

Kristie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
You can buy them in St. Jean, or at the Auburgue store in Roncesvalles. I found that one pole was enough, and it really helped on uneven ground.
 

MeandIan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
We are on the Camino right now and have come today into Pamplona. Yesterday we did Roncesvalles to Zubiri. I thought I had researched extensively but honestly, no one could have anticipated the steep decline. And the steep inclines. There are also a lot of loose stones, and a lot of jagged stones on the path. We wondered how bad it was in May when it rained so much. Most people had poles and still struggled. My replacement knee was painful and swollen, but this morning I had recovered. Today from Zubiri to Pamplona there were so many pilgrims with knee supports. Many of them young. And so many limping. This is our first time using poles and we are grateful for the advice from members on this forum.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
If I recall correctly, there is another steep decline with loose stones immediately ahead of you on the other side of the Alto de Perdon. If you are having significant knee problems you may want to consider walking by the road for that bit, where many of the bicigrinos go.

After that, it isn't nearly as bad for a long ways, though.
 

MeandIan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
If I recall correctly, there is another steep decline with loose stones immediately ahead of you on the other side of the Alto de Perdon. If you are having significant knee problems you may want to consider walking by the road for that bit, where many of the bicigrinos go.

After that, it isn't nearly as bad for a long ways, though.[/QUOTE

Thank you for that. Do you know how much longer in km it is by road and how safe it is. Thank you
 

MeandIan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
We are on the Camino right now and have come today into Pamplona. Yesterday we did Roncesvalles to Zubiri. I thought I had researched extensively but honestly, no one could have anticipated the steep decline. And the steep inclines. There are also a lot of loose stones, and a lot of jagged stones on the path. We wondered how bad it was in May when it rained so much. Most people had poles and still struggled. My replacement knee was painful and swollen, but this morning I had recovered. Today from Zubiri to Pamplona there were so many pilgrims with knee supports. Many of them young. And so many limping. This is our first time using poles and we are grateful for the advice from members on this forum.
Having said this, it was a tremendous sense of achievement for us to have done this. The stiffness has already gone and we have booked into a hotel in Pamplona and taking a rest day tomorrow. It’s like having a baby. One quickly forgets the pain
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
Recurring theme ..
Yes!
I bought Micro Vario Ti from Leki, and never regretted it..
Collapse into 38 cms, go into the rucksack that goes into the hull.
Save my knees and me from falling over, when I get tired I will fall like a log..not a pretty sight...

Clickety Clack;
I practise tips off on gravel, rock, in mud and grass,
tips on in towns, I get annoyed by the noise myself, what about the city dwellers ?

I change on the fly; shortly before tarmac and tiles, swipe pole ends in grass, putting on rubber tips!
Never lost a pair of rubber tips yet..

BUT use poles energitically, otherwise they are a waste...

My limit w/ 10 kgs and 3 weeks is 12 to 14 kms without poles...
So I feel I need them ...My very good friends that I did not want to do without !!
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Do you know how much longer in km it is by road and how safe it is.
I'm not sure. I took the stony descent, which is - I believe - what finally did in my knees. I didn't get my hiking poles until Viana. Looking at the map, the road rejoins the path at Uterga, 3.7 km from the Alto de Perdon, so I can't imagine it adding more than a km or two to the total. Where I saw the road by the Alto de Perdon it did not seem to be a high traffic road but it looks like it connects to the A-12, which is bigger, before heading back to Uterga on another smaller road. I'm not sure how safe it is to walk by the A-12 and whether there is a senda or a good shoulder.
 

JimGeier

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Spring 2016
CF Autumn 2017
VDLP Spring 2020
Yes absolutely to poles. Do I absolutely need them? No, but I like them, and they help reduce the stress on my hips, knees, and ankles, allowing me to walk more comfortably. Would I walk a Camino without them, no, would not even consider it.
Yes to rubber tips - I left them on all the time, and walked the CF in spring and autumn, ... snow, cold, rain, wind, shine.
Yes use the poles energetically (see preceding comment). I knew I was getting a benefit from the poles when my upper body was tired at the end of the day's walking.
Yes to Pacer Poles - tried others, love Pacer Poles, they will be with me on my next Camino.

Buen Camino,
--jim--
 

MeandIan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May2018
I'm not sure. I took the stony descent, which is - I believe - what finally did in my knees. I didn't get my hiking poles until Viana. Looking at the map, the road rejoins the path at Uterga, 3.7 km from the Alto de Perdon, so I can't imagine it adding more than a km or two to the total. Where I saw the road by the Alto de Perdon it did not seem to be a high traffic road but it looks like it connects to the A-12, which is bigger, before heading back to Uterga on another smaller road. I'm not sure how safe it is to walk by the A-12 and whether there is a senda or a good shoulder.
Thank you. My replacement knee was swollen and sore, but recovered quite quickly this morning. My feet took a little longer. But I would never have been able to do it without my poles. And looking back I am thrilled because it’s such an achievement.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
Having said this, it was a tremendous sense of achievement for us to have done this. The stiffness has already gone and we have booked into a hotel in Pamplona and taking a rest day tomorrow. It’s like having a baby. One quickly forgets the pain
A LOT of people say that at the end of the Camino (including me) "Never going to do THAT again!" and then, a year later . . . .
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
I'm not sure. I took the stony descent, which is - I believe - what finally did in my knees. I didn't get my hiking poles until Viana. Looking at the map, the road rejoins the path at Uterga, 3.7 km from the Alto de Perdon, so I can't imagine it adding more than a km or two to the total. Where I saw the road by the Alto de Perdon it did not seem to be a high traffic road but it looks like it connects to the A-12, which is bigger, before heading back to Uterga on another smaller road. I'm not sure how safe it is to walk by the A-12 and whether there is a senda or a good shoulder.
The A12 through the Alto del Perdon tunnel is a high speed route with just crash barriers and a safety strip along the edge. You could walk alongside it I suppose, it all depends on how quickly you want to die. I imagine the Civil Guard traffic cops would swoop down and pick you up before too much blood was spilt.
As an ex-highways engineer having seen far too many near misses I can assure you, you do not want to be walking along the hard shoulder with 120+kph traffic tickling your ears.
 

dfunghi

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (2019) Portuguese.
Since your arms are assisting your legs I find I have much less fatigue at the end of a day.
In my local training here in California the addition of trekking poles has made a huge difference in both stamina and fatigue. I go farther, in less time and feel less "beat up" by my long (5M) walks now that I have added poles. Plus the leap from 3-4M per walk to 5-5.5M per walk was effortless once I added poles. I bought carbon fiber poles and the weigh next to nothing.

They do take practice though and using for a couple weeks before your Camino is advised. I was using them slightly wrong and my wrists paid dearly.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
The A12 through the Alto del Perdon tunnel is a high speed motorway with just crash barriers and a safety strip along the edge. You could walk alongside it I suppose, it all depends on how quickly you want to die. I imagine the Civil Guard traffic cops would swoop down and pick you up before too much blood was spilt.
As an ex-highways engineer having seen far too many near misses I can assure you, you do not want to be walking along the hard shoulder with 130kph traffic tickling your ears.
I wasn't thinking of a tunnel under the Alto de Perdon. I was noticing that there seemed to be a road heading down from the top of the Alto de Perdon towards Uterga that the bicyclists were taking. I'm not sure where it went (I didn't take it). When I went to look at the map in one of the guidebooks in my Kindle, it seemed to connect to the A12 (presumably after any tunnel under the Alto de Perdon) and then there would be another road back to Uterga. Looking at it on Google Maps which has a lot more detail on the roads, you'd take the NA-6056 from the top and continue on to the NA-1110 to NA-6016 which would take you to Uterga. Google Maps says that is 6.3 km, adding 2.6 km to the distance.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
I wasn't thinking of a tunnel under the Alto de Perdon. I was noticing that there seemed to be a road heading down from the top of the Alto de Perdon towards Uterga that the bicyclists were taking. I'm not sure where it went (I didn't take it). When I went to look at the map in one of the guidebooks in my Kindle, it seemed to connect to the A12 (presumably after any tunnel under the Alto de Perdon) and then there would be another road back to Uterga. Looking at it on Google Maps which has a lot more detail on the roads, you'd take the NA-6056 from the top and continue on to the NA-1110 to NA-6016 which would take you to Uterga. Google Maps says that is 6.3 km, adding 2.6 km to the distance.
No, I didn't mean go through the tunnel - at the mirador you'd be on top of it by then - it was the bit that said "I'm not sure how safe it is to walk by the A-12 and whether there is a senda or a good shoulder. " I thought you were suggesting walking along the hard shoulder of the A-12 :)
I wouldn't risk coming down the NA-1110 though - although most of the traffic would take the faster route through the tunnels on the 1110 you'd be going downhill between a VRS barrier and an uphill crawler lane for slow, heavy trucks.
 
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
you do not want to be walking along the hard shoulder with 120+kph traffic tickling your ears.
@Jeff Crawley , I agree with you. But there is another way.

As @David Tallan suggests, that other way is quite straight forward. At the Alto-del-Perdon (just after the silhouettes) turn right etc.

My experience of road walking in Spain has been good - usually good shoulders to keep one well clear of on-coming traffic. Although I have not been on that stretch of road. If I was coming that way again I would check it out on Street View to avoid the terrible, rock strewn, descent on the "traditional" path.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
@Jeff Crawley , I agree with you. But there is another way.

As @David Tallan suggests, that other way is quite straight forward. At the Alto-del-Perdon (just after the silhouettes) turn right etc.

My experience of road walking in Spain has been good - usually good shoulders to keep one well clear of on-coming traffic. Although I have not been on that stretch of road. If I was coming that way again I would check it out on Street View to avoid the terrible, rock strewn, descent on the "traditional" path.
1537535065371.png

Fingers crossed it'll this quiet! If you walk on the left, as you should, that's a crawler lane for slow moving vehicles not a hard shoulder.
 

CaminoHimal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
My wife and I just finished the CF. She has terrible knee problems; I had developed painful golfers' elbow in the past after using regular poles and dreaded getting it again.

Here's my advice: buy yourself a set of Pacerpoles!! You will never regret it! Any set of poles can be a huge help -- but most peregrinos don't use them properly so they lost most of the benefit. Pacerpoles seem to automatically train everyone to use proper technique. Thus, because both my wife and I used Pacerpoles with every step, they enabled my wife (with her bad knee) to walk the entire CF; they saved me from sprained ankles three times and I never had a tinge of pain in my elbows!

I had used regular poles for 25 years, including trekking in Nepal. Twice, because I was using regular poles, I developed horrible golfers' elbow after my treks (caused by my improper use of the poles), which caused intense pain and required extensive physical therapy.

After reading the recommendations from CaminoForum users, I bought my wife and me two sets of Pacerpoles. We used them with every step. They are far more effective than regular poles at taking weight off your legs and into your arms -- without overburdening your arms or upper body. They not only promote stability and prevent falls, they promote proper posture (actually curing my 40-year old stooped posture).

Why? Because the hand grip is amazing!!!! Instead of a vertical pole grip, the Pacerpoles have a horizontal pistol style grip, where your thumb is positioned at a 45 degree angle to the ground and the ball of your hand is on the top of the pole, keeping your wrist at a 90 degree angle to the pole. These two changes give you a much better mechanical advantage to use the poles for propulsion and lift, rather than just lateral stabilization like conventional hiking and trekking poles.
 

Colly

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
"2018"
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
Hi Patrick, I walked the Camino de Santiago from SJPP in April this year, poles were completely invaluable as they pretty much made sure we were able to walk the whole way without pain or injuries. They support you uphill and down, especially on some of the tracks downhill after the Pyrenees and Cruz de Ferro. Use YouTube videos to help learn the right techniques and you will be fine. Also expect to wear out the rubber tips regularly if you are using them properly and buy at least three or four of the extra tough rubber ones at the Camino store in SJPP to take with you. They do make a difference, Buen0FCF2EFE-B1D0-4C42-8F9C-A7978B50382F.jpegAA3C5F77-1374-4450-979B-49F33FFA669D.jpeg Camino
 

Jackieduda

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2018)
Patr
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM[/QUOTE
I saw walkers with and walkers without walking sticks. I am 68 and found them a great help when maneuvering the steep and rocky downhills and in pulling myself up steep rocky uphills. If those same hills were also wet i am not sure how i would have managed them safely even though i am fit for my age. Sticks also take some stress off each knee and foot with every step even on flat land, and if you get a blister or other small injury they are great to lean on with each step. Wouldnt be without them!
 

DonnaS18

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept (2018)
In my experience you’re either a pole (stick) person - or not, and then you’re either a one pole or a two pole person. Some people find they really help, others find they hinder. Personally I prefer to keep my hands free. But when a shepherd on the Camino gave me a stick the other day I was tired and thought “The Camino provides..” I used it for the next 3-4 days. Then When I fell using the stick it meant I couldn’t put my hand out to stop, so I left it behind at the next alburgue for someone else to try.
People with bad knees seem to LOVE two poles especially downhill.
You can buy collapsible “Camino sticks” in shops along The Way for about 6.50€ Which could be cheaper and more convenient than bringing them from home......
 

Arctic_Alex

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking Camino Frances April 2019
With poles I tend to speed up by at least 20% ... even i. Flat terrain and on tarmac. Actually on tarmac it is worst , might be 30% even. Not sure if I want that speed on the camino ;-)
 

HeidiL

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2004-), Portugués, Madrid, 1/2 Plata, 1/8 Levante, 1/8 Lana, Augusta, hospitalera Grado.
Did PatrickM ever come back to tell us how it went?

And most importantly: Did he use poles?
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
- what I thought, exactly !
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
My take on the pole issue is that they have/ might have been instrumental to the straightening of my back!
I have a Scheuerman condition, one bad vertebra btw my shoulderblade, which has resulted in a lifelong "hung", sagging posture of my upper body.
A prostate cancer in ´09 led me to use walking to train my abdomen muscle system.
On my second camino, I came home slightly more straight than when I left, in spite of a heavy load.
This has led to some problems in my hip, as it too loosened.
One thing lead to another, but it is curious to see one´s own body in change ! - and for the better....
I most sincerely think this is due to the fact that I brought a pair of Lekis on my first camino in ´14.
Early on after my op, I changed the bike to work with walking to my workplace , minus sticks, though only 3 kms away, and after three years my formerly flat feet had the nicest wet print I have ever had ! - walking has had me lose 30 kgs as well!!

I have an absolutely beautiful stretch by a lake that has the ultimate Camino quality to be had in my immediate vicinity and I have tested how long is the distance, where I can walk with a 7 kgs load without having a tired hip and shoulders.
- 10 to 14 kms, after that I really benefit from using sticks !!

53243
 
Last edited:

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" Camino
but 2019?
With poles I tend to speed up by at least 20% ... even i. Flat terrain and on tarmac. Actually on tarmac it is worst , might be 30% even. Not sure if I want that speed on the camino ;-)
That used to be my reason for only using a single pole. Since getting my PacerPoles I've revised my ideas. Sure it took a little while to get used to them and consciously slow myself down but the benefits outweigh the problem. As I've said before the first thing I discovered was that I was leaning to the left as I walked and the second, due to the way you use PPs (as opposed to conventional hiking poles) was that the more erect posture was a benefit to breathing and consequentially makes hills less arduous.
 

Val&Tom

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019
I'm a newbie planning CF from SPdlP on May 22. This forum has been a fantastic resource for plannning this adventure into the unknown! I have seen comments both pro and con the issue of the merits of using walking poles. To take or not to take? - that is the question! In my mind there would need to be a definite benefit to warrant carrying that weight for 800 km. Your thoughts, please!
PatrickM
We’re walking our first Camino this May too. We’ve done a lot of walking over the years and poles are a must have. They’re not heavy, they collapse into themselves and they take weight off your spine. Chris Brasher suggested that they can take the weight of an elephant off your back over the course of the day. That’s around 7 tonnes. They’re also great clothes lines too. Hope that helps.
Val&Tom
 

CaminoHimal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
My advice: PACER POLES!!!

PACER POLES are worth every pence — and more (and I’m very cheap). I used regular poles for years, including trekking in Nepal. Based on advice from this forum, I bought a set of Pacer Poles just before I went to SSPdP, I used them (with rubber tips, of course) for EVERY step of the way. Yup: every step, as once I used them, I fell in love with them (as I had NEVER done with standard poles).

This is what my Pacer Poles did for me:
1. Taught me how to walk properly: more efficiently, a bit quicker, and with far less wear and tear on my body;
2. Saved me from several painful (and some very dangerous) stumbles;
3. Rescued and actually strengthened my knees, which are 66 years old and unstable;
4. Did not result in painful “Golfers Elbow”, which standard poles gave me twice before, resulting in weeks of physical therapy; and
5. Actually permanently improved my posture — significantly. I am writing this 8 months after walking the Camino: 6’3” and have always slumped: now more. I stand tall now; my back hurts far less often now as a result.

PACER POLES!! I am a convert — a disciple.
 

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